Common Types of Civil Disputes

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Civil disputes are some of the most common cases to appear in court. Civil cases differ from criminal in that generally the prosecution in criminal cases represents the state, while in civil cases the parties represent themselves or hire a private lawyer.

In civil cases, one or both parties are seeking compensation from the other. While there are many kinds of civil disputes, there are five particularly common types of cases that appear in civil court.

1. Contract Disputes

When a contract is drawn up and signed between two parties and later there is a disagreement regarding the contract which might inhibit or affect the parties’ willingness to fill those contractual obligations, the dispute can be taken to civil court. This often occurs when there are areas of a contract which are written in unclear terms, allowing the opportunity for debate over the meaning of that part of the contract. Contract disputes can also occur when one party simply does not have the means to uphold their obligations according to the contract.

2. Property Disputes

Property disputes occur in issues regarding property ownership, boundaries, damage, etc. Property disputes between neighbors are extremely common, with fences, buildings, and planting from one home occasionally straying just past the property line of a neighbor.

3. Torts

Torts are perhaps the most widely discussed kind of civil dispute. Torts involve essentially any civil case in which one party harmed or is accused of harming another, whether physically, emotionally, or psychologically. This can include car and bicycle accidents, slip and fall accidents, animal attacks, defective products, medical malpractice, assault and battery, false imprisonment, fraud, and more. The easiest way to identify what kind of civil dispute falls into the tort category is to remember that it generally involves some kind of injury claim.

4. Class action lawsuits

Class action lawsuits are civil disputes in which there are so many individuals injured by the same product or situation that it is not feasible for them to file individual personal injury claims. In a class action lawsuit, a group of people injured by the same thing can file as one party against the accused, with one or several representatives from the injured group standing in for the others. Common class action cases occur when many people are injured by the same defective product or exposure to a hazard.

5. Complaints against the government

Complaints can be filed against both local and federal government for a variety of reasons. Generally, these cases arise when some action on the part of the government resulted in harm to one or more citizens, or allowed for a violation of someone’s civil rights. In many of these cases, the government may offer a settlement outside of court, but these disputes do on occasion make it to trial.

These are only five of the many kinds of civil disputes which arise in civil court; arguably, these are also the most common. If you or a loved one were harmed in a civil dispute or want to learn more about your eligibility for filing one of these or another civil claim, seek legal counsel.